Research and development

 

Every year, we manage a significant number of projects covering various aspects of the fruit and vegetable production and marketing sector in Quebec, in accordance with our research priorities (french). Many of these projects are carried out in collaboration with our partners, and we lend our support to other initiatives they spearhead. Following is a description of various QPGA projects – some of which have been completed, some of which are currently underway.

 

Introduction of a new marketing channel to sell local produce in garden centres in Quebec

 

The aim of this project is for the QPGA, in conjunction with the Fédération interdisciplinaire de l’horticulture ornementale du Québec (FIHOQ), to set up a new marketing channel for selling Quebec-grown produce. The idea involves setting up stalls at garden centres, featuring fruits and vegetables (and eventually other food products) sourced from within a 150-km radius. Garden centre owners would benefit from a virtually turnkey concept adapted to the type of products sold. Garden centres are seasonal businesses whose appeal and atmosphere represent a particularly good fit for the sale of locally grown vegetables and locally made products.

Goals

  • Put more Quebec-grown fruits and vegetables on the market and offer produce growers a new distribution channel for their products
  • Provide garden centres with an opportunity to diversify their operations
  • Put forward a virtually turnkey marketing formula conducive to the agricultural dynamic of the produce industry and the needs of garden centres
  • Encourage local farming

Timeframe: 2015-2016

Partner: Fédération interdisciplinaire de l’horticulture ornementale du Québec (FIHOQ).

Funding: Growing Forward 2, Ministère de l’Agriculture, des Pêcheries et de l’Alimentation du Québec (MAPAQ) – Programme Proximité, Volet 1

 

Evaluation of the feasibility of creating a food hub to supply healthcare institutions with local fruits and vegetables

 

As part of the Stratégie de positionnement des aliments du Québec sur le marché institutionnel (strategy for the positioning of Quebec foods on the institutional market) spearheaded by the Ministère de l’Agriculture, des Pêcheries et de l’Alimentation du Québec (MAPAQ), a number of regional collaborative initiatives have been set up throughout the province. The work done by a regional committee established in the Montérégie region led to the development of an action plan and positioning strategy directed specifically at the local institutional market.

The second thrust of the Montérégie action plan focused on improving the quality, consistency and diversity of the local supply and ensuring it matches the needs of the institutional market. This involved a three-pronged approach:

  1. Determine the feasibility of creating networking opportunities (service clusters) to allow small and medium-sized businesses to market their products to the institutional sector
  2. Determine the feasibility of using pre-packaged second-grade fruits and vegetables
  3. Determine the feasibility of structuring product supply (vegetables, fruits, etc.) and organizing how it is marketed in order to meet the demand of the institutional sector.

The committee opted to create a food hub to achieve these objectives. The project therefore stems from the action plan developed in the Montérégie region.

Goals

  • Establish the presence of key conditions that will ensure adequate profit margins to cover the price of vegetable and fruit growers and the expenses related to the setup and operationalization of a food hub designed to accommodate the specific needs of institutional clients, including health and social services centres (CSSSs)
  • Create a direct link between the institutional sector and Montérégie-area growers

Timeframe: 2016.

Funding: Growing Forward 2, Ministère de l’Agriculture, des Pêcheries et de l’Alimentation du Québec (MAPAQ) – Programme Proximité, (volet 1).

 

Study of the U.S. market for Quebec-grown fruits and vegetables

 

Conduct a study of the U.S. market with the ultimate goal of boosting fruit and vegetable exports to states east of the Mississippi. This study is required to more accurately align supply and demand. It will look into all of the produce sold on the Quebec market in bulk, packaged, pre-cut or prepared.

Goals

  • Document the current and future U.S. market potential of Quebec-grown fruits and vegetables, primarily east of the Mississippi
  • Study which distribution networks to focus on for market development purposes
  • Issue recommendations for industry members

Timeframe: 2016.

Partners: Les Producteurs de pommes du Québec (PPQ), Les Producteurs de pommes de terre du Québec (PPTQ), Association des emballeurs de pommes de terre du Québec (AEPTQ), Association des producteurs de fraises et framboises du Québec (APFFQ) and the Quebec Produce Marketing Association (QPMA)

Funding: Growing Forward 2, Ministère de l’Agriculture, des Pêcheries et de l’Alimentation du Québec (MAPAQ) – Programme de soutien aux stratégies sectorielles de développement 2 (volet 1)

 

Place des producteurs – Logistics centre

 

The purpose of this initiative is to develop a new vision of the marketing supply and logistics network related to horticultural production. This includes the modernization of logistics at the Place des producteurs, Eastern Canada’s largest wholesale produce market, located in Montreal’s Marché Central. The new Place des producteurs must comply with future market criteria and be able to accommodate increased use. The project also entails the development of a functional technical program and architectural design.

Goals

  • Develop a modern vision of the logistics related to the marketing network for horticultural production, including revamped logistics for the Place des producteurs, to comply with future market criteria and be able to accommodate increased use
  • Incorporate proposals made in a Université Laval study into a functional technical program and architectural design
  • Increase the number of producers and buyers who use the facilities and boost business volume
  • Optimize the farm-to-wholesaler and wholesaler-to-retailer transportation dynamic
  • Lower transaction costs
  • Enhance quality control
  • Make the Place des producteurs easier to use

Timeframe: 2015-2017.

Funding: Growing Forward 2, Ministère de l’Agriculture, des Pêcheries et de l’Alimentation du Québec (MAPAQ) – Programme de soutien aux stratégies sectorielles de développement 2 (volet 1).

 

Assessment of current climate risks on produce crops in order to identify adaptation requirements and prospective technologies

 

Microbursts, heavy rains, Hurricane Irene, droughts… these are a few of the extreme weather events that have left their mark on the Quebec produce industry in recent years. Climate change poses a genuine threat to the farming community. These are more than a few isolated meteorological anomalies: they are significant shifts that are having a decisive impact on the entire agricultural ecosystem. Potential repercussions on production include an increase in the number of insects and crop diseases, greater plant vulnerability due to frost or hail, and more. Confronting climate change has become one of the most important agricultural issues facing our industry. We need to start by identifying the current threats it represents for produce growers in Quebec. Which tools and technologies are available to protect ourselves against these clearly defined risks?

Goals

  • Identify the main risks, current and future, of recent events associated with climate change for produce growers in Quebec
  • Document their effects and repercussions on crops (lost harvests, lower yields, insect infestations, diseases, economic losses, etc.)
  • Evaluate the suitability of risk assessment tools currently available in Quebec for addressing the identified risks (crop insurance, new technology, pesticides, etc.)
  • Outline adaptation-related needs and make a list of the technologies that can deliver the corresponding solutions
  • Classify the technologies on the list and conduct a cost-benefit analysis

Timeframe: 2015-2016 (completed)

Partners: OURANOS, Association des producteurs de fraises et framboises du Québec (APFFQ), Ministère de l’Agriculture, des Pêcheries et de l’Alimentation du Québec (MAPAQ)

Funding: Growing Forward 2, Ministère de l’Agriculture, des Pêcheries et de l’Alimentation du Québec (MAPAQ) – Programme d’appui financiere aux regroupements et aux associations de producteurs désignés (Volet C).

 

Development of the 2017–2020 strategic plan for the sustainable development and competitiveness of the field vegetable sector in Quebec

 

The 2009–2014 strategic plan of the Table filière des productions maraîchères (provincial advisory council on field vegetable production), which was an extension of the 2004–2007 strategic plan, has reached the end of its term. Other industry studies have since been conducted, specifically in connection with the 2010–2015 action plan developed by the Fédération des producteurs maraîchers du Québec and, more recently, the QPGA’s comparative analysis of the business environment of the Quebec and Ontario horticultural sectors. The work carried out in 2014 as part of the Forum québécois des décideurs en horticulture maraîchère et fruitière (Quebec forum of horticulture industry decision-makers) made it possible to initially identify the priorities for the sector. At this juncture, industry stakeholders are looking for a new strategic plan for the sector that will take into account the needs and considerations of the produce industry and put forward meaningful actions to ensure the sustainable development and competitiveness of the sector over the next three years.

Goals

  • Examine the external and internal environment of the produce industry, taking into account the various factors and businesses involved, and focusing on the main competitors
  • Analyze strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats in order to identify the main issues at stake and the strategic priorities to embrace in order to bolster development and competitiveness in the produce sector
  • Focus on developing a three-year action plan for 2017–2020 to pinpoint key organizations, timeframes and performance indicators to track results
  • Hold consultations to enable industry partners to take ownership of the strategic plan for the Quebec produce industry

Timeframe: 2016-2017.

Partners: Members of the Table filière des productions maraîchères

Funding: Growing Forward 2, Ministère de l’Agriculture, des Pêcheries et de l’Alimentation du Québec (MAPAQ) – Programme de développement sectorial (Volet 1)

 

Completed projects

 

Projects completed in 2017:

Projects completed in 2016: